William Offutt is the patriarch of the Offutt's in America. William married Mary Brock in 1695. Mary was the daughter of
Captain Edward Brock who emigrated to Calvert County, Maryland from Ireland before 1672. By the time William Offutt began
to acquire large tracts of land in Maryland, William of Orange, a Presbyterian had become king of England, and for a time
the Presbyterian Church was the church of England until his reign ended. As loyalist to the Crown of England, William and
Mary Offutt were members of the Presbyterian Church and their son Edward deeded land in order to establish a Presbyterian
Church in Maryland.
William Offutt lived through the reign of no less than six monarchs. Through examination of these monarchs, their background,
political style, and religious beliefs, one is able to understand the period which William lived, and what influenced him.
William Offutt began to acquire large tracts of land under King William III, also known as William of Orange. King William
III was born in 1650 and ruled from 1689 to 1702. He was the son of William, Prince of Orange, and Mary Stuart (daughter of
Charles I). King William was one of the most significant players on the European continent. As a Presbyterian, he constantly
strove to spread Protestantism and decrease the Catholic influence of France and Spain. He died in 1702 from complications
after being thrown from his horse. The reign of William III and Mary II marked the end of royal prerogative. Parliament, with
the authority of the oligarchy, came into a position of prominence regarding the governing of England. William spent the greatest
part of the reign embroiled in continental battles against Catholicism. William Offutt would continue to acquire large land
tracts under the protestant monarchs which would follow, namely Queen Anne, King George I, and King George II.
young and ambitious considered indenture for their passage a small price to pay. Indentured immigrants who came to America,
served for up to seven years, were given 50 acres of land at the end of their indenture period and made "Freemen." William's
initial grant was for 101 acres in 1694. It is evident that William Offutt was not indentured due to the size of his initial
grant and his service to the Crown. Records reflect that William Offutt was master to indentured immigrants and served the
magistry as juror for grand inquest.
William Offutt’s land tracts were located throughout the Potomac and a large portion of what is now known as Washington
D.C. William was a yeomen who; “Were freeholders next under the rank of gentleman and who owned a small landed estate.”
William Offutt became one of Maryland’s established landed “Gentry.”
William established himself with his neighbors, Ninian Beall, Samuel Magruder and Edward Brock. In 1695, after receiving
his grant of "Offett's Delight" he married Mary Brock and for the rest of his life was ever seeking more land.
"Calverton Edge" 500 acres, was surveyed for Col. Ninian Beall August 28, 1688, and "Addition to Calverton Edge" 498 acres,
was surveyed for him June 19, 1695. These tracts were deeded to William Offutt as well as "Neighborhood Gleaning" and "Gleaning's
Addition" and Darnall's Goodwill" in documents dated August 25, 1702 and June 24, 1701 (Prince George's County, Lib. C., fol.
20 and 22). William Offutt lived on these tracts near the present town of Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, Maryland."
"His next land patent was issued April 10, 1715, for "Offett's Adventure,"100 acres, which was surveyed for him December
2, 1713, beginning at a bound black oak standing at the head of a small branch of the southwest branch or the Western branch
of the Patuxent River."
"Covert" 406 acres, was surveyed for him May 6, 1715, beginning at a bound white oak in a fork of Henson's Branch.
"Clewenwell" (also spelled "clewerwell" and "Clerewell") was surveyed for him July 15, 1715, and later given to William
II. He established his home there.
"The Outlett"; 500 acres, was surveyed for William Offutt September 6, 1715, beginning at a final branch that ran into
a branch called Piney Branch, which "Falleth into the Potomac against the island that is laid out for Walter Evans" located
within the present city of Washington.
"The Younger Brother" 600 acres, was surveyed for him August 21, 1717, beginning at a bound hickory on the western side
of the small branch that "Bears near northwest and southeast and falls into said Piney Branch." The farms of William Viers
and Joseph C. Bailey were located on that tract during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th
"Wm. Ofett and James Beall Planters" were ordered
to appraise the estate of Charles Carroll, Est., late
0f Prince George's county, December 12, 1721.
"Offett's Pasture" 613 acres, was surveyed for him
November 22, 1722. It lay on Watt's Branch (which goes through Rockville), beginning at a white bound oak.
"William and James" was surveyed for William Offutt July 3, 1723, and later (1725) given to his son James. Prior to 1715,
sons William and James had explored up to Great Falls of the Potomac with their father. Tradition has it that they were the
first white men to walk through that area. These sons later lived on these two tracts, "Clewenwell" and William and James,"
"Clewenwell Enlarged" 2,000 acres, was surveyed for him July 17, 1728, one of the first tracts to be surveyed on the flat,
red lands along the Potomac in the vicinity of Darnestown and Foolesville. The farms of Philip Stone, George Bradley, Joshua
W. Offutt, and others were later on this tract.
"Bear Den" surveyed for him April 4, 1729, was 200 acres and included Great Falls of the Potomac on the Chesapeake end
Ohio Canal, nine miles from Rockville and forty-nine from Baltimore.
William's children and their children were largely concentrated in Prince George Co. Old maps and T.H.S. Boyd's "History
of Montgomery County, Md. From 1650 to 1879" pages 136-7 describes the village and lists the inhabitants of "Offutt's Crossroads"
which was later changed to what is now the town of Potomac, Md. An island in the Potomac River below the small road off McArthur
Blvd. near "The Anglers Inn" west of Cabin John's Bridge on Route 495) was and is still known as Offutt's Island. William
and his sons (according to a Mrs. Blank's records) owned the land where the capitol and the White House now stand. It is claimed
William and his sons also owned part of Georgetown, D. C.
His father-in-law Edward Brock recognized William's business acumen, honesty and judgment by making him the executor of
his will. William's children married into the prominent families (Waring, Edmonston, Joyce, Bowie, Magruder, Burgess, Beau)
so the family had good social standing aside from his large land holdings. Mary Brock Offutt retained her vitality into late
life, disposing of her property in a well organized will probated September 11, 1748. William's will was probated June l0,
1734, 37 years after his marriage in 1697. He is believed to be buried in an unknown grave somewhere between the Falls and
the city of Washington.
Many of William and Mary Offutt's progeny continued to live in Maryland and, Washington D. C. They were important Members
of a growing state. In May 1778 the Montgomery County records show 19 men named Offutt signed the oath or allegiance to support
Offutt's from large families living on smaller and smaller inherited acreage followed the westward tide of migration down
the Valley Road to enter Kentucky by the Wilderness Road or Braddock or Forbes Road to Western Pennsylvania and Ohio to a
new life on greater acreage of land. While others such as Harold H. Offutt (died 1973), son of Winfield, remained in the Maryland,
D. C. area until the early part of the 20th century.
William leaving a turbulent Britain, crossed a hostile ocean to settle on the quiet shore of the Patuxent there to marry
a sturdy wife and become the Patriarch of the Offutt family. Among the many who were to come from this union was one Denton
Offutt, frontier entrepreneur, who was to befriend, encourage, and employ young Abraham Lincoln.
Jarvis Jennes Offutt, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, who gave his promising young life as an aviator in World War l flying for
the French, and later was memorialized by having the Strategic Air Command Base in Omaha named after him.
Harold H. Offutt was born and raised on the land that William Offutt was granted centuries before. He married Trudy Desmond
and together they would raise four sons. He was a veteran of World War I, chemist, and inventor who moved to Odessa Texas
during the oil boom. Harold H. Offutt became production manager of the "Sid Richardson Carbon Black Plant" just west of Odessa.
Many others, the great and small, the strong and weak, the accomplished and the obscure, even the liberated slaves who
elected to take the name, can look back to William with interest and pride. This is his story as best as it can be reconstructed
nearly 300 years later.